Call for permanent specialist in the region

SPECIALISTS WANTED: Mount Gambier's Dr Richard Try supports the idea of a permanent dermatology specialist to be stationed in the region.

Charlotte Varcoe

DERMATOLOGY resources may soon return to the Limestone Coast following the reopening of interstate borders.

After the closure of the South Australian-Victorian borders due to Covid-19, residents in need of specialist dermatology care had to go without or travel to Adelaide.

Prior to the border closure, specialists in the medical field would visit the region from Warrnambool but stopped their visits when the borders closed.

Port MacDonnell resident Ken Weaver said he now wanted a South Australian based dermatologist specialist permanently in the South East and for the local medical field to stop relying on visiting professionals.

Mr Weaver said he had experienced a number of different skin cancers throughout his life.

“Mount Gambier and the Limestone Coast have been without a skin specialist for almost two years,” Mr Weaver said.

“We need specialists from across the medical arena here in the region because there are some procedures and medications that general practitioners cannot prescribe.”

He said the thought came to him following a particularly nasty bout of skin cancer located under his lip.

“I needed chemotherapy cream which I could not access from a general practitioner here,” Mr Weaver said.

“Having locally based specialists in many fields as well as a permanent dermatology specialist will bring peace of mind to many of us here in the Limestone Coast.

“We would not have to worry about travelling costs, time off work and if there is a medical flare up, people would not have to worry about whether they should go to Adelaide then and there.”

After noticing the gap in the dermatology sector, Mount Gambier’s Dr Richard Try returned to study where he received a diploma in general practitioner dermatology, skin cancer medicine and received his certificate in skin cancer surgery.

Dr Try said himself and Jason Johnson of Dr Try’s Clinic ran a skin care clinic after realising there was a need for general dermatology within the region.

“We relied on back up with both dermatologists and plastic surgeons with some of the skin lesions,” Dr Try said.

“Having the visiting dermatologist was great because we were able to have that further opinion but without that we are now referring people to Adelaide.”

Dr Try said since the closure of the borders, Dr Nick Marshall of Adelaide Plastic Surgery had received an influx of referrals for difficult dermatology procedures as well as plastic surgery related issues.

“We are hoping that once the borders open it will alleviate some of the pressure but we have not heard whether the specialists are coming back or not just yet,” he said.

“Skin cancer is a huge problem here in the South East and we treat multiple people a day with these issues.

“The reason for this is a mixture of the fishing industry and beach lifestyle as well as farmers seeing exposure to the sun.”

Dr Try said when the state’s borders were open, the clinic received fantastic support from Dr Marshall and WPRS specialists, however the region continued to rely on one visiting doctor.

“I think we need more because we have a significant amount of work,” he said.

“A lot of skin patients we have are elderly too so getting into town can be a burden for them as well.”